Last updated on 26 June 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Homarus americanus

SPECIES NAME(s)

American lobster

COMMON NAMES

Atlantic Lobster, Maine Lobster, New England Lobster


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Stock assessments periodically conducted; fishermen and other stakeholders involved in data collection and development and implementation of management plans; stocks are recovering based on current management plans.

Weaknesses

Stock in the SNE region still in poor condition; there is a large number of recreational fishermen not monitored and participating in development and implementation of management plans; continued potential for affecting endangered species such as right whales, etc.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

7.5

Managers Compliance:

< 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

3.4

Future Health:

9.5


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Southern New England/Mid Atlantic US. New England S.& Mid Atlantic United States Traps

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths

Stock assessments periodically conducted; fishermen and other stakeholders involved in data collection and development and implementation of management plans; stocks are recovering based on current management plans.

Weaknesses

Stock in the SNE region still in poor condition; there is a large number of recreational fishermen not monitored and participating in development and implementation of management plans; continued potential for affecting endangered species such as right whales, etc.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 28 June 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Stock assessments have been done for 1996, 2000 and 2006 by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and for 1993 by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). The primary models used to assess American lobster stocks since 1992 are length-based virtual population analysis, the Collie-Sissenwine (a.k.a. modified DeLury) model, and the life history (a.k.a. egg production per recruit or EPR) model. Length-based VPA and the Collie-Sissenwine Model (CSM) were used to estimate abundance and fishing mortality rates in the stock using landings and bottom trawl survey data.  Life history model (egg-per-recruit model or EPR) is used to estimate egg production per recruit and other per-recruit reference points for male and female lobster in each stock assessment region. Mortality and abundance of male and female lobster in individual areas are then estimated.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

The SAC (Stock Assessment Committee) recommends that the ASMFC lobster board redefine management area boundaries so that they match, or completely fall within, stock unit boundaries. Moreover, it is said that ‘it is not possible to provide robust management advice for management areas that span multiple stock areas due to differences in stock trends, biological parameters, and management measures in adjacent areas.’

There is no advised TAC / Quota provided by the stock assessment.

Reference Points

The F10%reference point has been used consistently in lobster stock assessments to determine if overfishing is occurring. 

Biological reference points for SNE American lobster stock unit

Fishing mortality threshold = 0.82
Fishing mortality target = 0.74
Abundance threshold (millions of lobster) = 22.31
Abundance target (millions of lobster) = 23.90

CURRENT STATUS

The SNE stock is considered to be in poor condition based on the recommended Biological Reference Points (BRPs). The stock is below the abundance threshold and at or near the fishing mortality threshold. In terms of the recommended reference points, the SNE American lobster stock is depleted and at the overfishing threshold

Trends

Landings increased sharply from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, reaching a time series high of 10,054 mt in 1997. Landings remained near the time series high until 1999, when the fishery experienced dramatic declines in landings.

Abundance varied between 16 and 28 million lobsters between 1982 and 1995, before increasing to a series high 45 million in 1997. Abundance sharply declined to 14 Million lobsters in 2004. Abundance in 2003 was estimated to be around 12.3 million. The current status, a three year average, is estimated as 14.0 million, below both the threshold and target reference points. Based on these criteria, overfishing is occurring in the Southern New England stock, and the stock is depleted.
 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

There is no set TAC. The fishery is managed with permit restrictions, traps limits (number of vessel), sex restrictions (male only), closed areas, gear restrictions and minimum size limits (ASMFC, 1997).  Given depleting stocks in the SNE, more stringent management plans are in place.  

The fishery management plan seeks to decrease fishing mortality on the American lobster resource in the SNE stock to less than the fishing mortality reference point and restore abundance to greater than the abundance target reference point. To achieve this, some measures undertaken: minimum gauge size, maximum gauge size, vent size, v-notch definition and trap reduction.

Recovery Plans

There is a recovery plan for reducing fishing mortality to the target level and rebuilding stock abundance to the target level. This recovery plan seeks to decrease fishing mortality to less than the fishing mortality reference point immediately and restore abundance in the American lobster resource in the SNE stock to greater than the abundance target reference point before the end of 2022.

COMPLIANCE

In general fishermen in SNE cooperate and comply with management authorities in the management of resources.
 

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

The U.S. mid-Atlantic lobster trap/pot fishery is currently classified as a Category I fishery (under the MMPA) that has a historical incidental bycatch of four large whales -- the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), the Western North Atlantic stock of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), the Western Atlantic stock of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and Canadian East Coast stock of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).

Other Species

Only pots and traps are allowed to land lobster for commercial purposes, and they are ranked “Very Low” for bycatch of sharks, seabirds, and turtles, “Low” for bycatch of finfish, “Medium” for interactions with marine mammals (addressed below), and “High” only for bycatch of shellfish and crabs .
 

HABITAT

A study which occurred in the eastern North Atlantic, found no lasting effects of pots on the abundance of epifauna such as sea pens, sea fans, and sponges, even on rocky substrates. Mobile gear impact research has been conducted on sand and mud substrates. There are indications that lobster pots may have positive effects on some aspects of habitat. For example, pots may temporarily act as reef habitat for fish. Similarly, they may provide temporary shelter, or even protect large areas of the seafloor by making them inaccessible to mobile gear (i.e., trawls and dredges).

Marine Reserves

There are some closed areas in the SNE lobster fishery.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is 7.5.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.270 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.440 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 61.4%.

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is < 6.

Managers do not follow advice (Gloucester Times, 2010)

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Harvester comply with regulations (ASMFC, 2009e)

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is 3.4.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the Blim.

The SSB is 14200 ('000 t). The Blim is 25400 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/Blim for this index is 56.1%.

As calculated for 2007 data.

The score is 9.5.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.270 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.440 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 61.4%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES

Notes

  1. Blim:As abundance (thousands)    
  2. Bpa:As abundance (thousands)    
  3. Ftrp: As exploitation    
  4. Fadvised at low biomass: As exploitation    
  5. Advised TAC/000t: TAC not set    
  6. Set TAC/000t: TAC not set    
  7. F: As exploitation    
  8. SSB: As abundance (thousands)

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

ASMFC, 2009a. Stock Assessment Report No. 09-01 (Supplement) of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission American Lobster Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review.http:// https://www.asmfc.org

ASMFC, 2009b. Overview of Stock Status Gulf of Maine & Georges Bank Stocks of American Lobster, Homarus americanus Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. http:// https://www.asmfc.org

ASMFC, 2009c. Species Profile: American Lobster Board Initiates Addendum to Consider New Biological Reference Points. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. http:// https://www.asmfc.org

ASMFC, 2009d. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Draft Addendum XVI to the American Lobster Fishery Management Plan; for Public Comment. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. http:// https://www.asmfc.org

Bell, M. C. 2010. Recruitment Failure in the Southern New England Lobster Stock. Report to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.http:// https://www.asmfc.org

Gloucester Times, 2010. Fisheries panel backs off lobster 'moratorium'. Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x1255109145/Fisheries-panel-backs-off-lobster-moratorium

Federal Register. 2009 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 229  List of Fisheries for 2010. Federal Register. Vol 7 Num 11 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fr/fr74-27739.pdf

Garrison, L. P., Link, J. S., Kilduff, D. P., Cieri, M. D., Muffley, B., Vaughan, D. S., Sharov, A., Mahmoudi, B., and Latour, R. J. 2010. An expansion of the MSVPA approach for quantifying predator–prey interactions in exploited fish communities. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 67: 856–870. http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/5/856.full.pdf+html

References

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    American lobster - Southern New England/Mid Atlantic

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